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Social Work launches part-time online MSW

Published May 2, 2013

The School of Social Work will launch a part-time, online master’s degree in social work (MSW) program this fall, giving prospective candidates the opportunity to pursue a professional career in social work without giving up their day jobs.

The part-time MSW takes three years to complete, including summer sessions, or nine semesters. More than half of the courses offered will be available online or in a hybrid format. The school defines hybrid courses as 70 percent online and 30 percent seated, requiring students to be on campus for classes about four times per semester, but on weekends.

“UB School of Social Work has been offering online or hybrid courses for over 10 years now,” says Tony Guzman, director of online programs in the School of Social Work. “This program is a response to requests from agencies and practices wanting to send their employees to UB to obtain a MSW.”

Consistent with the school’s forays into online education, the school also will offer a new online course this summer: “Raising our Technology IQ to Enhance Clinical Social Work Practice.” The course will explore the impact of technology on human beings and how social workers can capitalize on new technologies to improve their clinical practice. Topics covered include social media, Internet addiction and online therapies.

“This course is the first in the country that addresses the use of technology in clinical social work practice that is taught entirely online using technology,” says Diane Elze, associate professor and director of the MSW program. Michael Langlois, a teaching associate in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, will teach the course remotely from Massachusetts.

Guzman says the school will continue to take advantage of technology where possible and expand its online offerings, depending on students’ interests. The end goal would be to offer a fully online MSW degree.

Currently, the School of Social Work gives special preference to international applicants and those residing farther than 50 miles from UB’s North Campus for the part-time online MSW. Students interested in studying the field of addictions and its treatments have the most online and hybrid courses to choose from.

As the school gradually adds to its online course catalogue, advanced-standing MSW students will have the option of completing their degrees online in the future, Guzman says. Advanced-standing students typically have a bachelor degree in social work, meet the school’s GPA requirements and finish the degree in one year (full time) or five semesters (part time).

More information on the MSW program or the new online course can be found on the School of Social Work’s website